February 12, 2018
Woodshop: Finish what you started
For the 2017-2018 school year Felicity Students can explore what they can accomplish with their hands. Working with wood is a tactile learning experience that brings together hand eye coordination, following procedures, being creative, and the true reward of creating something from a piece of material. Students see practical applications of their math skills and learn to “measure twice and cut once.” The evolution of the woodworker has been recreated first hand in the inaugural year of woodshop at Felicity. First, two construction horses were built, and a piece of scrap wood was laid over the top to create every woodworker’s most basic workbench. Then woodshop students followed a cut list and measured and processed 2x4’s into the correct lengths to build a true workbench. The antithesis to the digital age, woodshop exposes students to manual labor that builds confidence, strength of character, and problem-solving skills due to the unique nature of each individual piece of lumber. From exposing students to trade opportunities or developing true GRIT, woodshop is a true-life lesson experience.
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February 12, 2018
Being Competitive and Humble
Hoop dreams come alive at Felicity! The Chicago Area Alternative Education League(CAAEL) is a wonderful opportunity for our students to compete. First year basketball coach Sol Luskin knows first hand that, “planning, preparation, and execution are the keys to success both on and off the court.” Felicity students have been provided an extra layer of motivation to be good citizens, complete their work, and participate in a competitive setting that values leadership and sportsmanship. After every CAAEL game it is tradition for the student athletes to award two sportsmanship ribbons to the opposing team. Felicity students have participated in the ribbon ceremony three times now and those that present the ribbons have gained the unique opportunity to provide specific praise to someone they have just competed against. With a record of 2-1, Felicity is poised to have fun and hopefully win a few more games, all while learning how to be humble.
Lightning in the Classroom
Without saying a word, a classroom sends a message to the students about relationship building, communication, and the roles of teachers and students. The first message to my students is that they are in a safe and empathetic environment. Our atmosphere is designed to foster growth in social-emotional and academic areas allowing students to take chances, make mistakes, and practice being brave on a daily basis. We have seniors in our room and they will transition to new and exciting opportunities. We strive to teach them to be independent while becoming intrinsically motivated. We focus on developing social skills and critical thinking through daily structured and spontaneous discussions around relevant current events. To meet individual needs, we create independent learning opportunities based on students’ interests to blend with our online curriculum. I am incredibly proud to be their teacher and a member of the Felicity team.
2016-17 a look into our year
The 2016-2017 school year was quite successful in Mr. Watson’s and Mr. Kostas’ classroom.
This year we introduced individual and group art therapy for our students, we read the novel
Unwind, and we went on various field trips to promote social, emotional, and academic growth.
We started the school year with 5 students and grew to 9 students by the end of the year! We
watched 3 of our students move on to bigger and better things in their post-high school
endeavors; we are proud to have had 2 high school graduates and 1 student reintegrate into
their home school full-time. Mr. Watson and Mr. Kostas are looking forward to the 2017-2018
school year and hope it will be as successful as the 2016-2017 year.
September 15, 2017
Luskin's Learning Lab
The 2016-2017 school year is in the record books! Students have continued to work hard towards earning credits and getting one step closer to graduation. While school work is a typical concern for any high school student, life outside Felicity School has found one student navigating the Healthcare.gov website and tackling life’s demands. On the road to independence, the allure of one’s first job can be overwhelming. Felicity School has provided one student the opportunity to bring in his work pay stubs and earn credit towards an elective work study. Another student has the luxury of taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes in his neighborhood and participating in his first tournament later this month. Throughout the school year students have been asked to journal about how they stay motivated and focused on their goals. During the summer months, both students and staff have a little bit of extra time to recharge their inner motivation and prepare to continue down the path of persistence, perseverance, and adapting to a constantly changing world.
January 22, 2017
While students are busy earning credits, more important “life lessons” dominate the class. Exploring the true cost of owning a car led one student to discover that a fully loaded Subaru WRX STI was not a practical choice, albeit an exciting vehicle! This year 80% of my class is employed part-time for businesses including Starbucks, Walmart, a local park district, and Dunkin Donuts, learning ‘real time’ about managing finances, the value of hard work, customer service, and dedication. We encourage students to find balance between school, work, family and friends. We are also constantly exploring the strengths of individuals and how these positives help overcome challenges. Many mornings begin with an opportunity to reflect and journal on a quote, while other days, we explore real life obstacles students face in their quest to contribute to society and become independent. Topics are discussed in groups allowing for questioning and exploration. I am excited that students support each other and provide input from their unique experiences. I am happy to report that we are staying true to our mission of ‘developing the mind and elevating the spirit’ on a daily basis.
Art Therapy and the Exploration of Identity
Jan. 22, 2017
Felicity School, in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, offers weekly therapy for students with our very first Art Therapy Intern, Andi Freberg. Andi is completing her Master’s in Art Therapy and joins us three days a week providing both group and individual sessions. Andi’s skill and background in special education and visual arts, make her an invaluable addition to our team and our students. In
sessions, students use art to self-discover, express, and communicate in ways beyond verbal processing, using diverse media such as drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, murals, and textiles. This winter, the SAIC sponsored The Art of Connection exhibition at the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago to showcase the work of the interns’ clients. Andi worked with students and staff to prepare individual pieces to be featured in the gallery. Students and staff were asked to embellish a paper-Mache box to represent how they feel perceived (the outside of the box) and how they perceive themselves (the inside of the box). According to Andi, “the creative process coupled with the art product aims to encourage empathy amongst peers and staff as well as initiate conversations and the exploration of identity.”
The Art of Connection recently opened with hundreds of artists, students, and SAIC faculty, attending the event! Our student work was featured alongside that of art therapy clients from a variety of settings. The exhibition was a powerful display of the ways in which art can deepen therapeutic work and allow for self-expression and exploration of life experiences that can be difficult to capture in words. Felicity students visited the gallery to see their work displayed. Thank you to Andi and our staff and students for engaging with this new service and for participating in The Art of Connection!
ISBE Rules For Private Schools
National Profile SPED research
Article - 'Diplomas Elusive for Many Students With Learning Disabilities'
Felicity School is designed to serve students who are eligible for special education services in the categories of Emotional Disability (ED), Learning Disability (LD), and Other Health Impaired (OHI).
Felicity School is a non-traditional, school environment with open and flexible spaces that ameliorates some of the negative feelings that students might associate with a more traditional school setting. Our student to staff ratio is a maximum of 10 students working with 2 staff members (one certified teacher and one paraprofessional). Related Services staff are available as directed by each student’s Individual Education Plan.
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158 S. Waukegan Rd.
Deerfield, IL 60015